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Instructions:

1....Print this file.

2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.

3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.

4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).

Melbourne Village Historical Trail

Copyright 1999 by Steve Rajtar

(From Interstate 95, drive east on New Haven Ave. (US 192), north on Greenway Dr., and west one-half block on Strawbridge Ave. to park on the north side of the street. Walk west on Strawbridge Ave., north on Elizabeth St., west on Espanola Way, and south 350 feet on Academy Dr.)(0.3 miles sor far)

West side of Academy Dr., between Espanola Way and New Haven Ave. (1950 S. Academy Dr.)

1....Florida Air Academy

In 1923, Ernest Kouwen-Hoven, the developer of Indialantic, had a five-bedroom home built here for him, which he named Magnolia Manor and lived in it for a year. He sold it in 1926 to Bob Widrig and his brother, who added wings to it and converted it to the Lincoln Hotel.

The hotel was sold in 1957 to A.J. Rimer, who formerly owned the Green Bay Packers. He renamed it the Barcelona Hotel and sold it in 1961 to Jonathan Dwight, an educator from New Jersey, to use as a military academy for boys.

Dwight Hall, the building with the dome now used for administrative offices, is another Spanish style residence in Magnolia Park, built in 1926. It was also purchased by Jonathan Dwight in 1961.

(Continue south on Academy Dr., then walk west on the north side of New Haven Ave. to the intersection with Campbell Dr.)(2.5)

Intersection of New Haven Ave. and Campbell Dr.

2....Site of Hernandez-Capron Trail

Near here was an early road used by Indians and soldiers. It cut through what is now West Melbourne, linking the forts along the eastern part of Florida with Fort Brooke (Tampa) during the Seminole Wars. It was named after Brig. Gen. Joseph M. Hernandez, who captured Seminole Chief Osceola in 1837.

(Continue west on New Haven Ave. to the intersection with Dayton Blvd.)(2.7)

Intersection of New Haven Ave. and Dayton Blvd.

3....Dayton Boulevard

This street is named after the Ohio city where the predecessor of Melbourne Village was located. Dayton was feeling the effects of the Depression in the 1930s, with some of the unemployed living in ramshackle huts covered with tin cans, called "Tin-Town". The YMCA-YWCA put people to work clearing debris in parks and sawing firewood in an area renamed as Opportunity Acres. The "Dayton Plan" involved about 700 families.

Ralph Borsodi was in charge of a homestead unit sponsored by the Dayton Council of Social Agencies during the early 1930s. About four miles west of Dayton, 160 acres was acquired to be developed as "Liberty Acres", with farm buildings owned in common by the community and individual plots leased to homesteaders. It was Borsodi's plan to ring Dayton with such communities.

Ten homes had been built by January of 1935, some of which had faulty construction. The project was terminated and the land was sold.

In 1946, the people involved with Liberty Acres held a reunion and found that there was still some interest in the concept. Dr. Lennington, then living in Melbourne, suggested they try again in this area. He promoted land sales to back-to-the-land groups.

(Walk north on Dayton Blvd. to the intersection with Savannah Dr.)(3.0)

Northeast corner of Dayton Blvd. and Savannah Dr.

4....Site of Cooperative Store

The Melbourne Village Cooperative was organized in November of 1949 to sell food, fertilizers, building supplies and farm machinery. At the trading post, members could sell, buy and barter. Locally produced products were sold for a small commission. Trailers, tractors and specialized tools were available for rent.

In the spring of 1950, a cooperative store was opened at this location, and customers could make their own change on the honor system. It had to be closed when outsiders came in and helped themselves.

(Look east on Savannah Dr.)(3.0)

Savannah Dr., between Dayton Blvd. and Maybeck Pl.

5....Road Plan

Louise Odiorne designed the winding streets purposely to avoid a typical grid pattern. Some of the residents found them to be less efficient and sometimes irritating, but most agreed that beauty was more important than efficient straight roads.

(Continue north on Dayton Blvd., then walk east on Hall Rd. until it ends.)(3.2)

East end of Hall Rd., just south of Crane Creek Canal

6....Village Hall

An Ohio corporation known as the American Homesteading Foundation was created to develop Melbourne Village. While plans were being formulated, the United States Naval Air Station on the Banana River was being phased out. Two of its 16 x 16 foot navy surplus cabins were bought by the settlers and moved north of Crane Creek and set up in the middle of the woods as soon as Hammock Rd. was complete. They wound up on Alice Carr's property near the present intersection of Hammock Rd. and South Dr. Later, four more were bought, one becoming the Village Hall.

The Village Hall was used for square dancing, movies, informative and entertaining lectures, slide shows, classes, social groups, etc. Alice Carr started a tropical jam business in its kitchen. It had the only telephone in the Village.

When the new Community Hall opened in 1962, this building was taken over by a men's club.

(Walk west on Hall Rd. and north on Dayton Blvd. to the bridge.)(3.4)

Dayton Blvd., crossing Crane Creek Canal

7....Dayton Bridge

This concrete bridge built in 1955 replaced an earlier wooden plank bridge.

(Continue north on Dayton Blvd., then walk east on South Dr. and north on Hammock Rd. to the intersection with Live Oak Ave.)(3.8)

West side of Hammock Rd., across from Live Oak Ave.

8....Deer Head Hammock

Dr. Lennington had interested individuals travel here from Dayton and stay at the Melbourne Hotel. He drove them a few miles west to an area beyond Minton's Corners to the edge of the St. Johns Valley. They were unimpressed because the land was low and the few trees were scattered.

The following day, Lennington brought them here, where they walked down a cattle trail through a woodland of palms and pines. They reached this spot known as Deer Head Hammock, which formed a natural cathedral. They found this area to be acceptable.

They were offered the land by Lennington at $75/acre plus an option to purchase additional land to the north. Later, they discovered that comparable land in the area was selling at $30/acre.

The hammock was later transformed into a ceremonial center, enhancing the natural clearing. A memorial altar was built and used for weddings, christenings and memorial services.

(Walk east on Live Oak Ave., north on Acacia Ave., and southeast on Wildwood Ln. until it ends.)(4.2)

Southeast end of Wildwood Ln., southeast of Acacia Ave.

9....Erna Nixon Hammock

Naturalist and preservationist Erna Nixon of Chicago sought to take care of this area, referred to by early residents as "The Hammock of Pines and Palms". After she retired to her cottage here named Afterglow, she educated the Village as to the harm that was done to the ecosystem by the dumping of trash and removal of native plants for their yards.

She worked on clearing the paths that wound through the woods. She also discovered the existence of the rare psilotum plant, which many naturalists had believed to be extinct. The western portion of the area is maintained by the AHF, and the eastern part is the Erna Nixon Hammock Park, maintained by many groups in the county.

(Walk generally south on the Main Loop Trail until you reach the sign "Exit Path to S. Wildwood Ln." Walk west on that exit path to the paved road (Live Oak Ave.). Walk northwest on Live Oak Ave. and south 400 feet on Hammock Rd.)(5.0)

East side of Hammock Rd., between Live Oak Ave. and Norman Dr. (542 Hammock Rd.)

10....Wood House

Along with Borsodi, the founders were Dr. Elizabeth Nutting, Margaret Hutchinson and Virginia Wood. Wood contracted for the first home built in the Village. Her house set the standard for the rest of the houses, being angled to take advantage of prevailing winds. Circulation of air was enhanced by the use of clerestory windows. A screened porch allowed indoor-outdoor living. Wood planned to use it during the winter, living in Dayton the rest of the year.

Across the street to the northwest is the Nutting-Wood Green, honoring Elizabeth H. Nutting and Virginia P. Wood.

(Continue south 100 feet on Hammock Rd.)(5.0)

West side of Hammock Rd., between Live Oak Ave. and Norman Dr.

11....Community Hall

A new Community Hall was built here at a cost of $25,950 to replace the former Village Hall. It was officially dedicated on December 8, 1962.

(Continue south on Hammock Rd. to the intersection with Norman Dr.)(5.1)

Northwest corner of Hammock Rd. and Norman Dr.

12....Site of Office Building

A membership fee of $600 entitled a person to membership in the AHF and a lot on which a home could be built. The price increased to $750 in 1950, with a second adjoining lot available for $650. At the time, houses could be built for $1,400.

A membership committee had the right to accept or reject applicants. Because of feared increased traffic, they turned down a church, a school, a college, and an osteopath who wanted to open an office. For a time, they searched for a black family to live in the Village, but were unable to find one wanting their children to grow up in an otherwise all-white neighborhood.

(Walk west 375 feet on Norman Dr. to the two white posts on the south side of the street. Walk between them and on the pedestrian path south and west, following the sign to Tippie Lake. At the junction with Fuller's Path, head to the north (right), and walk to the lake.)(5.3)

Between South and Norman Drs., and W. Pine Rd. and Hammock Dr.

13....Arthur Tippie Lake

This lake was dug in mid-1950 and was stocked with 75 bass and 250 bluegills by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.

(Cross Fuller Stream (on your left as you face the lake) and walk east on the pedestrian path to the "Exit South Dr." sign. Walk south on the pedestrian path to South Dr.)(5.5)

Intersection of Dayton Blvd. and South Dr.

14....Town of Melbourne Village

In 1957, the Town of Melbourne Village was incorporated, including not only the original AHF land but also the area west of Dayton Blvd. Pressure had been put on Melbourne to expand to handle the growth brought by the space program. To avoid annexation, the Village became a separate municipality.

This area was zoned commercial and Raymond Auer proposed to construct a roofing business. Residents argued that it would be too messy and hurt property values, so the town commission denied his application for a building permit. Auer went to court and won, and constructed his business.

(Walk south on Dayton Blvd. to the large paved driveway on the east side, just after passing the Moose Lodge on the west, and look to the east.)(6.0)

Northeast corner of New Haven Ave. and Dayton Blvd.

15....Front 20

Of all the areas in the Village, these 20 acres have probably been the most controversial. Several plans for their use were proposed in the 1950s, but a general consensus could not be reached.

Virgil and Mary Baird proposed the construction of a service building on the corner for food, laundry and village offices. They obtained a lease and planned to build it by 1954, but residents killed the project when they found the named planned for the Baird's restaurant - "Virg 'n Mary's" - to be in poor taste.

In 1954, it was considered as the site of the University of Melbourne. Some supported it, but since it was park land a vote of the entire Village was required for approval. With opinion turning against him, Borsodi withdrew his request in 1955.

The Village rejected a filling station in 1956 and an FM radio station in 1958. In the 1960s, rejected were a bank, restaurant, bowling alley, retirement home and a motel.

Later, 15 of the 20 acres were sold to Berton R. Thomas of Clearwater for $2,200,000 and the town and AHF divided the net proceeds. Thomas sold to Gateland Corporation of Fort Lauderdale, which built a shopping area and parking garages. Deed restrictions were included to control access roads, landscaping, tree preservation and the nature of the tenants.

(Continue south on Dayton Blvd., then walk east on the south side of New Haven Ave. to the intersection with Haven Dr., and look across the street to the north.)(6.4)

North side of New Haven Ave., east of Melbourne Village

16....Melbourne Gardens

Dr. Lennington, who sold the American Homesteading Foundation the land to create Melbourne Village at $75/acre, took an option on the land immediately to its east. As the Village developed and increased the property values in the area, Lennington sold off this land at $385/acre.

(Continue east on New Haven Ave., then walk south on Palm Blvd., east on Hall St., south on Scenic Dr., east on Edgewood Dr., and south 600 feet on Country Club Rd.)(9.3)

East side of Country Club Rd., between Edgewood Dr. and University Blvd.

17....Florida Institute of Technology

Ralph Borsodi started a School of Living at the Village, stressing a life simpler than that found in cities, and it lasted from 1948 to 1952. He also started Melbourne University, but residents in the Village were opposed to having the campus there. Instead, what resulted was a single cinder block building on what is now a large campus.

In 1953, Borsodi had just returned from a year-long trip around the world and wanted a school with a universal point of view. He planned to draw on the United Nations staff and foreign embassies as visiting faculty members. The university catalogue stated the defective nature of modern education, based on a lack of faith in liberty, an unwillingness to trust in the implementation of truth, a desperate reliance upon power and might, and sometimes a cynical preoccupation with material wealth.

The cornerstone of the 80 x 26 foot structure was laid on October 6, 1955. It housed administrative offices and a library. The school opened on September 23, 1956, with Don Gospil as its lone full-time student. In the single building, the University of Melbourne Press published only two books, Borsodi's The Challenge of Asia and a collection of Gospil's poetry. Borsodi resigned as chancellor in 1957 and moved to India.

The regents attempted to keep the university going with periodic lectures, short courses and seminars, in an attempt to satisfy the lease terms and prevent a reversion to V.C. Brownlie. The university was soon disbanded.

The Brevard Engineering School was founded in 1958 and had its first classes in a wooden barracks building at the airport, constructed as part of the Melbourne Naval Air Station which was founded in October of 1942 to train pilots.

The school approached the failing University of Melboune in 1958 about moving to its campus. Plans were worked out and Dr. Jerome Keuper was hired as president beginning with the 1959-60 academic year. The University of Melbourne was officially dissolved in 1969. Its books and single building passed to the engineering school, renamed in 1966 as the Florida Institute of Technology.

(Continue south on Country Club Rd. to the intersection with Amherst Ave.)(9.4)

Southwest corner of Country Club Rd. and Amherst Ave.

18....Brownlie Hall

Unable to build in the Village, Borsodi looked for other locations. V.C. Brownlie offered this site, and on April 19, 1955, it was accepted by the university's board of regents. Due to pressure brought by other area landowners who did not want to see a university for "colored students", Brownlie conditioned the sale on a restriction that the university educate white students only. Lawyers concluded that the restriction was unenforceable.

After the opening of the university, Brownlie realized that he had given land on both sides of Country Club Rd., while he had intended to keep that on the west side. The regents refused to give it back and Brownlie dropped the matter. The university named this dormitory after Brownlie.

(Continue south on Country Club Rd. over the stream, then walk east on the next sidewalk past the south side of the Jerome P. Keuper Administration Building, the Chinese Monument and the Homer R. Denius Student Center to the Botanical Garden. Walk 100 feet into the garden on the sidewalk.)(9.6)

Botanical Garden, FIT campus

19....Little Red Schoolhouse

Richard and Jessie Goode moved here from Scotland in 1887, bought the previous Mason homestead, and built a log cabin near the present corner of Melbourne Ave. and Roxy Ln. They donated to the town a little red schoolhouse built of pecky cypress for $25, located east of Riverview Dr. and south of Line St.

In 1970, the schoolhouse was restored and moved to this campus.

(Look to the northeast.)(9.6)

FIT campus

20....Site of Goode Homestead

Richard Walter Goode of Illinois moved here in 1877 and homesteaded a peaceful spot about one mile west of the mouth of Crane Creek. His 153 acres stretched from the present Hickory St. westward to the Country Club Colony. The land cost him $3.85. This area, now part of the FIT campus, was known as "Cathead".

(Walk southwest and west on the sidewalks, north on Country Club Rd., and cross New Haven Ave. Walk east on New Haven Ave., north on Elizabeth St., and east on Strawbridge Ave. to the point of beginning.)(10.9)

Bibliography

Brevard County, by Elaine Murray Stone (Windsor Publications, Inc. 1998)

Crossroad Towns Remembered: A Look Back at Brevard & Indian River Pioneer Communities, by Weona Cleveland (Florida Today 1994)

Florida Historical Markers & Sites, by Floyd E. Boone (Gulf Publishing Company 1988)

Historic Brevard, (Brevard County Historical Commission 1989)

Melbourne: A Century of Memories, by The Melbourne Area Chamber of Commerce Centennial Committee (National Printing, Inc. 1980)

Melbourne Bicentennial Book, by Noreda B. McKemy and Elaine Murray Stone (Brevard Graphics, Inc. 1976)

Melbourne Village: The First Twenty-five Years (1946-71), by Richard C. Crepeau (University of Central Florida Press 1988)

Tales of Old Brevard, by Georgiana Kjerulff (The Kellersberger Fund of The South Brevard Historical Society, Inc. 1972)

Troubled Paradise - Melbourne Village, Florida, by Georgiana Green Kjerulff (Kellersberger Fund 1987)

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